The Family Way

By Dwayne Anderson

It was an early Monday afternoon at the Finster household. There was a knock on the back door. Kira opened it to find a man and woman in their 60's.

"Mom? Dad?"

The man and woman smiled.

"So good to see you!" said Kira as she closed the door. She turned her back to the door.

"It's my parents!"

"Grandma? Grandpa?" asked Angelica.

"No. Kimi's grandparents" said Kira.

Her husband Chas came in.

"Well let them in" he said.

Kira opened the door. Outside were her parents. Their smiles had slightly faded as they waited impatiently.

"Mom, dad, come in."

"Are you sure?" asked her father. (rimshot)

A little later, everyone gathered in the living room.

"Anyway" said Kira's father Kyoto, "me and my honorable wife are celebrating our 32th anniversary. Instead of climbing Mt. Fuji like we did last year, we're staying here for a couple of days visiting our daughter!"

Koki, Kira's mother turned to Kira. "Kira that hair is much too short for that face."

"You look good too mom" said Kira.

"Are these people your friends?" asked Kyoto.

"Yep" said Kira. "And this is my husband Chas."

"Meased to pleat you" said Chas. "I mean, pleased to meet you."

"What ever happened to that Frenchman you married?" asked Kyoto.

"He died when Kimi was six months old" said Kira.

"Kimi?" asked Kyoto.

"My daughter" said Kira.

She led her parents to the playpen.

"She's the one with the three pigtails."

"She's so cute" said Koki.

"Can she talk yet?" asked Kyoto.

"She can only say dada" said Chas. "That was last father's day. Isn't that right Kimi?"

He picked her up.

"Dada" said Kimi.

"How cute" said Koki.

"Chuckie is her older brother" said Chas.

"Kira, why didn't you tell us you had a son?" asked Kyoto.

"He's my son" said Chas. "He's Kimi's stepbrother."

"I thought couples could only have one child" said Kyoto.

"You're thinking of China" said Chas.

"Speaking of children" said Koki. "We brought gifts!"

She opened the bag she brought and pulled out a scarf. She wrapped it around Kimi's neck.

"Here you go Kimi" she said. "A scarf handknitted by grandma."

"We know how cold America can get" said Kyoto.

"Dad" said Kira. "The house doesn't get that cold."

"Maybe not for you honey" said Kyoto as he gently took Kimi from Chas.

"But Kimi has no body fat."

"Well so far she has been able to survive one cold winter of America" said Kira. "And recently me and Chas bought her new warm clothes."

"Honey, you can never buy warm clothes at a market" said Kyoto.

"She has plenty of warm clothes" said Kira.

"So tell me Kimi" said Koki. "What's your mother feeding you these days?"

"Good food" said Kira.

"Sandwiches" said Angelica. "And babyfood and other baby foods to eat."

"Baby foods?" exclaimed Koki. "Well tonight, I'm going to make her something great!"

"Mom, I'm cooking dinner tonight" said Kira.

"We'll discuss it later Kira" said Koki as she walked into the kitchen. Kyoto follwed, bringing Kimi.

Kira sighed.

"Well, mom and dad are here."

"It's only for a couple of days" said Chas.

Later, as expected, Koki had cooked dinner. Everything had a japenese theme, including the dessert.

"This is delicious" said Drew.

Angelica took a bite of her food.

"This is good Mrs. Chuckies mom. You finally learned how to cook."

"My mother made that" said Kira.

"Angelica!" said Charlotte. "That's rude!"

"I don't mind" said Koki. "After all, Kira can't cook."

"Mom" protested Kira, "I've cooked dinner lots of times. Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect."

"Hey we didn't say grace!" said Kyoto.

"Grace!" said Angelica. (rimshot)

"No dessert for you young lady" said Drew.

"Why? Because I insulted the cooking of Chuckies mom? Let the punishment fitthe grime."

Later that night... While Kira's parents watched t.v., Fifi began to scratch a flea.

"A dog? In Japan, we didn't have room for pets because of the intense population!" said Kyoto. "The country was literally crowded!"

The rugrats heard this from the playpen.

"Japam is crowded?" asked Tommy.

"What's Japam?" asked Chuckie.

"That's where my mommy and grandparent's came from" said Kimi.

"But weren't you born in Paris?" asked Phil.

"Yep!" said Kimi.

"What about your real dad?" asked Lil.

"My dad was from Paris" said Kimi. "And now, he's in heaband."

"So is my mom" said Chuckie.

"I didn't know your mommy was from Paris" said Lil.

"She's not!" said Chuckie. "She's also in heaband!"

"But what's this that the grownups are saying about Japam being crowded?" asked Tommy.

"Maybe there are so many peoples, that they have to push and shove?" asked Lil.

"Don't they say excuse me?" asked Phil.

"Peoples of Japam must burp alot" said Kimi. (rimshot)

Koki and Kyoto stood from the sofa and walked over to the playpen.

"Time for bed children" said Koki picking up Chuckie and Kimi.

Didi came in and picked up Tommy and Dil. "Time to go home" she said.

Betty came in and scooped up the twins. "Let's get going pups!" she said.

As Koki and Kyoto carried Chuckie and Kimi upstairs, Kira watched with a sigh.

A few days later...

Kira, wanting to make sure she made dinner, started earlier. She made a salad.

"Here we are" she said as she set it on the table. "A nice home cookedmeal."

The guests sat down at the table.

"Must be your mother's recipe" said Stu.

"Just eat it!" Kira said angrily.

Everyone was shocked. Kira had never been so angry.

"It's ok Kira" said Chas. "Your parents will be going in half an hour."

Kira calmed down. "You're right" she said. "I got through 3 days. I can last another thirty minutes."

Koki and Kyoto entered and noticed their packed suitcases.

"Who packed our suitcases?" asked Kyoto.

"I did" said Kira. "I thought you might want to save time."

Koki opened her suitcase.

"Look at this" she said. "You didn't fold our clothes properly! Kira, that is so sloppy."

Just then, the phone rang."I'll get it!" said Kyoto as he went into the kitchen.

Koki sat down at the table and ate some of Kira's salad.

"Too much pepper Kira" she said.

Kira was starting to get annoyed.

"I'll make dessert" said Koki as she went into the kitchen.

"Not again!" said Angelica. "Not another Japenese dessert!"

"You never had dessert the last time we ate here" said Didi.

"Oh right" said Angelica. "Who cares?" (rimshot)

Kyoto came back to the table.

"It turns out that our plane back to Tokyo has been cancelled. They say a typhoon is developing in the ocean."

"What does that mean?" asked Chas.

"It means" said Kyoto, "that we're going to have to stay here a little longer till the typhoon clears up."

Kira moaned in anguish.

Later that night, Chas dressed for bed while Kira waited in bed.

"You know, your parents are amazing" said Chas. "They know so much about life in Japan."

"Who cares!" said Kira angrily.

"Not me" said Chas. "I'm sorry, I must have been talking at the top of my head."

"I'm sorry too" said Kira as she calmed down. "It's just that they're driving me crazy treating me like a child!"

"Maybe you should confront them."

"I can't confront my parents. It's like this:I was an only child. My parents were overprotective of me. In fact, I think they loved me too much."

She took off her glasses and turned out the light. "What does it matter anyway?"

The next morning, Kira went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, only to catch her mother in the act of starting to make breakfast. Kimi and Chuckie were fully dressed and seated at the table.

Angelica came into the kitchen. Her parents had let her stay overnight.

"I was going to make breakfast" said Kira.

"Honey, everytime you make pancakes, they end up watery" said Koki.

Kira was getting angrier at her parents now.

Kyoto came into the kitchen and sat down with the morning paper.

Fifi came into the kitchen.

"Is she going to eat with us?" asked Kyoto.

"Fifi always eats with us every morning" said Chas as he entered. He sneezed.

"What does she eat? Kibble?"

"I resent that" said Kira. "I don't even know what kibble is, but I resent that." Koki began to gather everything she needed to make pancakes. Everyone sat at the table, except Koki and Kira.

Kira decided to follow her husband's advice.

"Mom, dad, you're driving me crazy" she said. "You come into my home, you take over, you make me feel like I can't do anything right anymore."

"We don't do that" said Koki.

"Yes you do" said Chas.

"I can tell that you wanted us to leave ever since we got here" said Kyoto as he put down the paper.

"You got that right" said Angelica.

"I never thought our own daughter would want to throw us out of her home" said Kyoto.

"No one's throwing you out" said Chas.

Koki was angry. "You did this" she said to Chas. "You turned our daughter against us!"

"I make things happen" said Chas. "I'm a bureaucrat."

Kyoto turned to his daughter. "Ever since the day you married that French artist, you shunned us out of your life. You dishonour us Kira. I wanted a son who would become smart and brave! Instead, my only child is a daughter who shames her parents and lives in a foreign country!"

"Dad, please calm down" said Kira.

"This is your fault!" said Kyoto as he turned to Chas. "You are responsible for this whole mess! You have used your American ways to take over her brain!"

"No one's been brainwashed" said Chas. "Your daughter has felt like this for a long time."

"Mom, dad, listen" said Kira. "As long as you want to visit, you'll have to follow some rules."

"What kind of rules?" said an impatient Kyoto.

" going for rides in the dryer, no cookies between meals" said Angelica.

"Angelica, those rules apply only to you" said Chas.

"No fair" said Angelica. "Why do they get to eat cookies between meals?" (rimshot)

"There is one rule that you should obey" said Kira. "Treat your daughter like an adult. You two did a great job raising me, why can't you trust me to do the same for Kimi?"

Kyoto and Koki looked at each other. Then, they turned to Kira. "Alright"  said Kyoto.

"Come on" said Chas. "Let's have breakfast."

"Great!" said Koki. "I'll make breakfast."

"Uh mom" said Kira. "I'll make breakfast."

The End

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